Getting your children to love going to the dentist can be incredibly difficult, and many children feel stressed when the time comes for their bi-annual cleanings and exams. Help your children to overcome their fear of visiting the dentist’s office, and get them excited about their oral health with these tips from real parents.
Talk Openly About Going to the Dentist
Kids can smell fear, and how you speak to them about going to the dentist is no exception. Be open and honest with your child over what they can expect at the dentist and also keep your language simple. Since you will not know prior to your appointment if your child will need any treatments, stick to the basics.
Be Selective With Your Words
Certain words instantly trigger a child into feeling anxious. When speaking with your child regarding what they can expect at their dental appointment, explain how the dentist will count their teeth, and make sure that all of their brushing efforts are paying off. Answering any questions they may have in an age-appropriate manner is vital. Be selective and avoid words like pain, shot, and needles.
Play Pretend Before Appointments
One of the best ways to eliminate potential dental-visit stress is by establishing healthy oral care routines at home before any dental visits. This will help familiarize your child with brushing their teeth and get them comfortable with the idea of oral healthcare. Line up all of your child’s stuffed animals and have them “play dentist” with their fluffed friends. You can also find some great brushing videos online that encourage children to brush their teeth. Brush with them every morning and night, so their oral health stays on track and helps normalize oral care at home.
Lead By Example
As a parent, you want the very best for your children, and that includes having healthy teeth and gums. It’s easy to get worried over your child’s appointment, especially if you have dental anxiety of your own. Keep calm and lead by example to show your children that the dentist can be a great place. Dr. Okamura and our staff are specially trained to deal with children (and adults) who have anxiety over being at the dentist. Follow our lead, and everything will run smoothly.
Don’t Share Your Fears
The last thing you ever want to do is to tell your children that you didn’t take proper care of your teeth as a child, and as a result, you experienced pain, anxiety, and discomfort at the dentist. Your children aren’t going to understand that your experience won’t be the same for them at the dentist, and sharing your past experiences and fears will lead to them being worried too. Focus on the positives with your children and ask our staff how we can help you ease your dental anxiety at your next appointment.
Discuss Why Going To the Dentist is Important
One of the best ways to eradicate dental anxiety in children is by finding a dental home for your kids by their first birthday. Introducing your child to their dentist early can get them more comfortable with oral health, and they will make the connection of why going to the dentist is so important. Going to the dentist when they’re young can set your child up for a lifetime of good dental health too. Emphasize that the dentist wants them to have healthy teeth and it’s their job to make sure your child’s teeth grow up as big and strong as them.
Choose a Dentist You Can Trust
Having a dentist you can trust is crucial, and we would love to speak with you about your child and their dental needs. We see children of all ages, and we want to make visiting the dentist fun. Call Dr. Kim Okamura DDS today to schedule an office tour for your little one!